Last week saw the launch of another highly anticipated Image title: Kaptara. Created by Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod, the series takes the conventions of science fiction and space exploration and exploits them in fun and ridiculous ways. Those familiar with either creator might have an idea of what’s in store, but the finished product will likely surpass even the highest expectations.
Kaptara follows Keith, a brilliant bio-engineer on a mission to mars aboard the ship Kanga. The small crew comes into contact with an unknown anomaly in space, eventually being forced to abandon the ship. The team crashes onto a lush, alien planet, one that can’t exist within our solar system. Keith and Lance, the cocksure pilot, explore the planet and come across some deadly wildlife. After a bloody encounter, Keith wakes up in the care of an alien queen and discovers that Earth is in grave peril.
The description of the issue doesn’t really do the book justice. There’s a lot more happening on the pages and the plot points are skillfully woven together into a intricate narrative. There are a few moments where the dialogue drags a little as it attempts to explain those plot points, but these moments are rare. For the most part the dialogue is witty and clever, making for some genuinely hilarious exchanges. The book is incredibly funny, but it doesn’t just skate by on its humor. Zdarsky blends the ridiculous moments with some surprisingly heartfelt ones to tell an engaging and entertaining story.
McLeod’s art style is a great fit for this over the top scifi story. While stylistic, elongated human anatomies aren’t something I typically enjoy, the character designs work to enhance some of the ridiculousness of the story. What consistently impressed me throughout the book was the level of detail in the backgrounds. There’s plenty to admire even outside of the main characters in the panels. The coloring in the comic is vibrant and beautiful and colorist Becka Kinzie adds a lot of character to the overall tone of the story.
I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up Kaptara, but I couldn’t be happier with the purchase. Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod have put together a clever deconstruction of sci-fi tropes and manage to combine those ideas with Masters of the Universe. It doesn’t seem like it should work, but the team pulls it off beautifully. Pick up this book.